Nellie Andreeva

In a competitive situation, ABC has signed a new 10-year deal with the Country Music Association to keep the CMA Awards on the network through 2021. The announcement was made hours before tonight’s broadcast of the 45th Annual CMA Awards on ABC. The awards show aired on NBC for its first four years, switching to CBS in 1972 for a 34-year run until ABC nabbed the rights in 2006. The deal with the CMA also covers franchise extensions CMA Festival: Country’s Night To Rock, which launched in 2004, and CMA Country Christmas, which started last year, which also will air on ABC for another decade. “ABC has demonstrated a passion for the format and our television properties,” CMA CEO Steve Moore said. “We have seen the CMA Music Festival special grow to three hours; we have added a holiday special, CMA Country Christmas; and our crown jewel, the CMA Awards, has reached a new, enthusiastic audience.” Last year, CMA averaged 17 million viewers. The second edition of the two-hour CMA Country Christmas special is scheduled to air December 1.

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